This week the Rye House Rockets are back in Premier League action and have once again booked Swindon's Chris Neath to cover for their injured number one Edward Kennett for the match against the Isle of Wight.

Kennett had his leg taken out of plaster recently and now faces six weeks of physiotherapy at the end of which doctors will review how his injured knee is healing. Rye promoter Len Silver said: "The Isle of Wight are a formidable side with Danny Bird and Adam Shields both Elite League quality riders, and they will be using a guest for the injured Ray Morton."

Silver went on to heap praise on the talented Oxford team which walloped a decimated Raiders team in less than favourable conditions at Sandy Lane last Friday. The title-chasing Raiders suffered their biggest defeat of the year so far 63-25 while at the same time their league title rivals Mildenhall emerged with a crucial two-point win at Boston.

Silver said: "It is incredibly tight at the top now and the results did us no favours. Oxford were very powerful and I am sure that if they had tracked the same seven riders all season that they would be challenging at the top of the league along with us and the Fen Tigers. But taking nothing away from Oxford, the conditions on Friday were terrible and I was astonished that the meeting even took place."

"On a track where the lighting is less than perfect, in dark and dismal conditions and following a torrential downpour half an hour before the meeting the track was a quagmire and I did not think that Conference League standard teenagers should be made to ride in those conditions."

"We were already short handed with Edward Kennett and Barrie Evans missing and I think that the team was already disheartened by this. However they all went out to give it a try."

"When both the away team and the home team were having trouble staying on their machines we quickly made the decision to tell the riders to just make sure that they came through the tie without any injuries so that they could go on to fight another day."

"It will be interesting to see how Mildenhall fare at Sandy Lane as their one remaining fixture is against Oxford. Meanwhile we have four more meetings two home and two away and know that we realistically have to win all four if we are to take the title. It is a very tall order for our young team but we will take each meeting at a time and give of our best."

Meanwhile, the Rockets bowed out of the British League Cup competition by succombing to defeat at the hands of Elite League Belle Vue in a close meeting at Hoddesdon on Saturday night.

The meeting demonstrated the gulf between the two leagues as the Aces top three of Joe Screen, Jason Lyons and Steve Johnston never really seemed to be extending themeselves, despite the fact that Rockets guest Paul Thorp lowered the colours of all three.

The Aces were defending an eight-point lead from the first leg of the competition and the Rockets never came close to threatening that advantage. The home side did go ahead twice in the early exchanges but the Aces pulled back twice and went ahead in heat eight thanks to Rory Schlein and Buzz Burrows.

For the Rockets Thorp rode well and Brent Werner and Scott Robson were always on the pace, but for the team to succeed they needed big performances from the reserves and second strings and Brett Woodifield
apart these were never coming.



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